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Dangerous Travel Selfie Trend Sparks Fears for Safety

Three student travellers have hit headlines recently after taking the world's 'selfie' craze to new heights, literally, by perching on top of an antenna at the peak of a 1,135 foot-tall Hong Kong skyscraper and videoing the view.

The clip, which can be viewed on YouTube, is the latest in a long string of travellers intent of wowing the world by snapping gravity-defying photos of themselves on top of tall buildings, cranes and iconic sites.

The 'selfie' trend is one which has completely dominated 2014 so far, with the word actually being entered into the dictionary and even a top 40 hit being made out of the popular slang word. Regular selfies are pretty common and almost every Facebook feed is smothered in them on a daily basis, but the sub-trend for people taking 'dangerous selfies' has reached new, and controversial extremes. What has started as a silly trend has got some people aiming for the potentially fatal snap.

The trend for taking 'extreme' selfies has become a sensational internet phenomena which has exploded recently, especially in Russia where 'extreme' versions of activities always seem popular. 'Skywalkers' as they are known (not to be confused with relatives of Luke) climb to death-defying heights without safety equipment in order to snap the next best photo.

In June, British travel company boss Lee Thompson convinced the Brazilian tourist board to let him climb to the top of Christ the Redeemer and take a selfie - a photo which later became another internet sensation. He said the 25-minute climb to the top of the statue was "œextremely hot, eerily quiet and claustrophobic" but reported that the view he got from the top was 'incredible'.

Other dangerous situations have become prime opportunities for taking a selfie. One photographer, Forrest Galante, a twenty-six year old from California, has taken selfies with a six-metre anaconda in the Amazon, a shark in the Bahamas and took one within just a few steps of a Komodo dragon in Indonesia.

Traveller Jared Michael was trying to perfect a selfie aimed to document his surroundings near Machu Picchu, Peru, but instead was nearly killed by a passing train. Luckily, the train's driver managed to kick Jared out of the way before he was seriously hurt or even killed.

Travelling allows us all to see incredible new perspectives of the world, so it's understandable that sharing a photo with you in front of amazing sights like Machu Picchu or Koh Samui can be one of the things which tops your priority list, but make sure you are being safe. Before you wipe out your phone and swipe open SnapChat, Instagram or your camera, make sure that you are aware of your surroundings. Look out for any obvious danger (like a train track, a moving train or a portion of rock where you could tread and fall) and make sure you're holding your phone or camera securely. The last thing you want is all of your trips photos and videos gone in an instant when you drop your camera. Luckily, with Alpha Travel Insurance, personal possessions are covered within all of our policies and gadget extensions come at a small premium.

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